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Deborah "Debi" Anderson

July 17, 1953 - June 29, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI

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Debi Anderson exuded a loving spirit. She wanted nothing more than to share in the success and happiness of her special loved ones. Known for her easy-going personality and her warm hospitality, Deb leaves behind a wonderful legacy of living life fully. There is no doubt that she will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

The 1950s were known as the decade of the baby boomer. Exciting times indeed with the many talents of professional baseball players Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron, as well as the rock music icon, Elvis Presley and movie heartthrob, James Dean. Families still huddled around the television to catch the latest westerns such as Gunsmoke or anything featuring Lucille Ball. On July 17, 1953, William and Dawn (Hessel) Douma welcomed home their firstborn daughter, Deborah Lynn, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her birth brought her family great joy and happiness.

Debi lived a typical childhood of the 1950s. Living at 572 Ferris Street NW, she and her siblings, Diane, Billy, and Darlene had their fair share of sibling squabbles yet remained very close throughout their growing years and into adulthood. Her parents raised them with a strong foundation of faith at the Fairview Reformed Church. As a family, they enjoyed countless summer vacations to Wolf Lake and celebrated nearly every family holiday at their Grandma Hessel’s home. Wolf Lake was the place Debi learned how to water ski and loved to spend the entire day floating out on the water. Active throughout her childhood, Debi was a participant in the Bonnie Blue Bell Holiday Parade for many years and enjoyed playing the flute in her high school marching band. She later became the Majorette before graduating with the Class of 1971 from Kenowa Hills High School.

Not to be forgotten was the meeting of her high school sweetheart, Dennis Anderson. They were a special couple who wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of their lives together. At the tender ages of eighteen and nineteen, they joined in marriage on November 4, 1972 at Faith Lutheran Church. Their romantic honeymoon was spent traveling in their Chevy Chevelle down to Disney World in Florida. They returned to Alpine Village trailer park for a time before saving up enough resources to purchase their first home on Hoyle Ave NW where they welcomed home their two wonderful children; Lee and Amy. They later resided at 1500 Winslow NW. Dennis worked as a roofer and Debi worked at HB Shane in downtown Grand Rapids before eventually landing a job as a secretary with Grand Rapids Public Schools. She enjoyed working with the staff and students alike.

As a family, they enjoyed making memories traveling to area race tracks in their motorhome as well as spending time in northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes. Debi was always very supportive of her children and their many endeavors. She welcomed many of the kids' friends into their home and treated them as if they were her own children. Many of them were known to affectionately call her mom! Debi also was a strong supporter of Dennis’ passion for racing for more than forty-two years, as well as their son, Lee’s racing career as well. Sadly, she and Dennis endured any parent’s worst nightmare, the passing of their son Lee on July 7, 2007. They leaned on the support of their many friends and family during this difficult time in their lives.

Later, she and Dennis relocated to their home at Ferris St. NW and were eagerly anticipating their retirement together. As much as she enjoyed her role as a mother, Debi was thrilled when her life was blessed with her grandchildren; Kaileigh and Levi. They were very special to Debi. She loved to treat them to her special desserts and fix them her specialty dish, spaghetti and meatballs! A fantastic baker, she also served up apple crisp, strawberry cake, chocolate pie, as well as a batch of fudge and homemade Christmas cookies during the holidays. A compassionate caregiver, her grandchildren will always remember her exceptional ability to make them feel special. It was clear to everyone that knew Debi that family was very important to her.

Debi held a wide variety of many special interests. She loved country music especially Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. An avid reader, she was known to read several romance novels at a time and loved anything written by Nora Roberts. Debi had a remarkable memory and was very intelligent. Whenever it came to playing games, everyone wanted her on their team! Debi loved eating out at Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille and would normally order herself a special cut of fillet mignon! She was known for whipping up her famous dish of spaghetti and meatballs, and she always loved going out for her and Dennis' special favorite, a wet burrito! Debi and Dennis had recently purchased a new motorhome and recently took it to a campground with a pool. She absolutely loved camping and was looking forward to sharing many years in their new camper. Sadly, she is gone too soon. Her kind-hearted and loving ways will never be forgotten. May her special loved ones never doubt the immense love she had for each of them and may her memories be eternal.

Deborah “Debi” Lynn Anderson age 66, of Grand Rapids, passed away unexpectedly on June 29, 2020. She was preceded in death by her son, Lee; father, William Douma; and father-in-law and mother-in-law, Don and Esther Anderson. Debi is survived by her husband of 48 years, Dennis; daughter, Amy (Ben) Hobbie; grandchildren, Kaileigh and Levi; and mother, Dawn Marie Douma. Also surviving are her siblings, Diane (Bill) Herrmann, William (Sue) Douma II and Darlene (Dave) Crinion; sisters-in-law, Jayne McDonald, Cheryl (Dan) Polkowski and Martha (Marshall) Chase; and “uncle” Tom House. A memorial event will take place at a later time. Contributions in her memory may be made through Go Fund Me. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook.